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4 by Agnes Varda

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Overview

Filmmaker Agnes Varda was one of the key precursors to the French New Wave, both in her daring (self-financing her first feature, La Pointe Courte, on a shoestring with no guarantee of distribution) and in her technique (embracing a bold but simple visual style and a willingness to experiment with both time, rhythm and the conventional narrative structure), and the fact that she was a woman at a time when there were few female directors in Europe makes her accomplishments all the more remarkable. While Varda is ...
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DVD (Restored / Mixed Media Set)
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Overview

Filmmaker Agnes Varda was one of the key precursors to the French New Wave, both in her daring (self-financing her first feature, La Pointe Courte, on a shoestring with no guarantee of distribution) and in her technique (embracing a bold but simple visual style and a willingness to experiment with both time, rhythm and the conventional narrative structure), and the fact that she was a woman at a time when there were few female directors in Europe makes her accomplishments all the more remarkable. While Varda is recognized as a major figure in French cinema, a relatively small number of her films have received decent distribution in the United States, but once again the Criterion Collection has stepped forward to give a deserving artist their due and Four By Agnes Varda is a DVD box set that presents a quartet of her key dramatic features in superb quality. While Criterion had previously released discs of Cleo From 5 to 7 and Vagabond, both films have been given an upgrade for this set, and La Pointe Courte and Le Bonheur receive their North American DVD premiere in this package. La Pointe Courte has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, while the other three movies have been given widescreen transfers, letterboxed at 1.66:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16:9 monitors, framed in their preferred ratio. The visual quality of all four films is superb here, with the original elements looking practically flawless, though the painterly use of color in Le Bonheur and Vagabond makes them all the more impressive over their black-and-white siblings. (Varda personally approved the transfers for all four films except La Pointe Courte.) The audio for the four features has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the results are crisp, well-detailed and impressive given their age. All four films are in French, with optional English language subtitles. A wide variety of relevant bonus materials have been included on all four discs. La Pointe Courte features a recent interview with Varda in which she talks about the making of the film, and a 1964 segment from the French television program Cineastes de nore Temps in which she looks back on the challenges of making her first few films. Cleo from 7 to 9 is jam-packed with extras, most notably Remembrances, a documentary on the production of the movie in which Varda and several members of the cast are reunited in the locations where their scenes were shot. Also on board are highlights from a French television special starring Madonna in which she talks with Varda about the film; a short film that traces Cleo's path through Paris in the present day; Les Fiances du pont Macdonald, a short comic film seen in a sequence in the sequence in the movie theater (and stars noted funnyman Jean-Luc Godard); L'opera Mouffe, a 1958 short directed by Varda; a gallery of art by Hans Baldung Grien that's featured in the movie; and the picture's original theatrical trailer. Le Bonheur also gets a healthy supply of bonus material, including five recent documentary shorts by Varda in which the film's leading ladies discuss their work on the picture, four intellectuals take part in a round-table discussion of the film and the issue of happiness; actor Jean-Claud Drouunot revisits the village where the movie was shot and the locals who took part in the production; and two brief meditations on how people perceive happiness. The disc also contains a 1964 television report on the making of Le Bonheur, a 1998 interview with Varda, a 1958 short by Varda profiling the Cote d'Azur, and the movie's original trailer. And finally, Vagabond includes three shorts on the making of the film from Varda, in which she talks with leading actress Sandrine Bonnaire, supporting player Marthe Jarnais, and composer Joanna Bruzdowicz; also featured is a 1986 radio interview with Varda and author Nathalie Sarraute, and the original theatrical trailer for Vagabond. Accompanying this box set is a perfect-bound book which includes credits for all four films, thoughts from Varda on each feature, and thoughtful essays from Chris Darke, Adrian Martin, Amy Taubin and Ginette Vincendeau. Given the size of Agnes Varda's body of work, this box set isn't quite expansive enough to be a truly definitive look at her career, but there simply isn't a better introduction to this filmmakers oeuvre available in North America; these are four landmark films that have been given a beautiful presentation on disc, and anyone with a passion for European cinema owes it to themselves to add this to their personal library.
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Special Features

New, restored digital transfers; Three short flms by Varda: L'opéra Mouffe (1958), Du Côté de la Côte (1958), and Les Fiancés du Pont Macdonald (1961); On La Pointe Courte; new video interview with Varda; excerpts from a 1964 episode of television series Cinéastes de Notre Temps, in which Varda discusses her early careeer; On Cléo from 5 to 7: documentary from 2005 on the making of the film; 2005 short film retracing Cléo's steps through Paris; Varda speaking with Madonna about the film in 1993; On Le Bonheur: 2006 featurettes with the three actors from the film; discussion about the film from 2006 between four intellectuals; footage of Varda on set; 1998 interview with Varda; On Vagabond: 2003 documentary on the making of the film; conversation from 2003 between Varda and composer Joanna Bruzdowicz; 1986 radio interview with Varda and writer Nathalie Sarraunte, who inspired the film; Theatrical trailers; Plus: new essays by Chris Darke, Adrian Martin, Amy Taubín, and Ginette Vincendeau, as well as a foreward by Varda on each film
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/22/2008
  • UPC: 715515025928
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Restored / Mixed Media Set
  • Time: 5:54:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 12,646

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Agnès Varda Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- La Pointe Courte
1. Intruder [5:53]
2. Barging In [4:16]
3. Him [3:11]
4. She Arrives [3:31]
5. "You Need Rest" [3:33]
6. Introductions [5:20]
7. Heading Out to Fish [6:36]
8. "Shall We Begin?" [4:32]
9. Their Love [5:11]
10. The Sick Child [2:09]
11. Going to Jail [2:01]
12. Waiting For the Fish [5:32]
13. She Brings Up the Past [2:40]
14. Sunday Joust [6:17]
15. Son of a Carpenter [3:55]
16. Jousters' Dinner [6:57]
17. At Peace [4:33]
Disc #2 -- Cléo From 5 to 7
1. Fortune-Teller [5:12]
2. Cléo at 5:05 [3:01]
3. Café Conversations [4:08]
4. "Everything Suits Me" [3:12]
5. The Right Taxi [4:08]
6. News on the Radio [3:21]
7. "I'm Suffocating" [5:22]
8. "I'm Too Good For Men" [2:49]
9. Doctor's Visit [6:10]
10. Cléo's Aria [3:52]
11. Going Out Alone [:19]
12. Faces in the Crowd [6:44]
13. Meeting a Friend [4:02]
14. Les Fiancés du Pont MacDonald [6:08]
15. 6:04 [4:31]
16. A Walk in the Park [5:18]
17. Antoine [6:29]
18. Bus to the Hospital [3:30]
19. Paulownias [4:08]
20. Looking For Dr. Valineau [2:50]
Disc #3 -- Le Bonheur
1. Father's Day [6:57]
2. Uncle Joseph [2:48]
3. Bedtime [3:58]
4. "What a Welcome!" [4:58]
5. The Workshop [4:25]
6. Flirtation [6:17]
7. A Wedding Dress [4:11]
8. "I Love You Too" [3:26]
9. Resting Together [4:59]
10. Love Notes [2:56]
11. Love in the Afternoon [2:08]
12. Sunday Stroll [5:28]
13. Going to the Country [4:32]
14. More Happiness [2:40]
15. Thérèse Walks Off [5:35]
16. Funeral [3:47]
17. Taking Her Place [3:37]
18. Life Goes On [3:04]
Disc #4 -- Vagabond
1. Girl in a Ditch [4:48]
2. "She Came From the Sea" [4:20]
3. Water Pump [6:04]
4. Washing Cars [3:53]
5. The Château [3:26]
6. The Honeymoon [4:23]
7. Break-In [4:41]
8. The Goat Herders [5:40]
9. A Potato Field [4:30]
10. A New Home [2:55]
11. "Such Filth!" [4:50]
12. The Plane Trees [4:41]
13. The Jealous Wife [4:04]
14. Sardines For Lunch [4:25]
15. In the Woods [3:00]
16. Assoun [3:47]
17. Working the Vines [6:56]
18. Yolande [4:25]
19. Playing Maid [5:50]
20. The Train Station [5:24]
21. Drunk and Disorderly [3:59]
22. "Where's My Money?" [3:29]
23. Wine Festival [6:10]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- La Pointe Courte
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Agnès Varda Interview
      Play
   Cinéastes de Notre Temps
      Play
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
Disc #2 -- Cléo From 5 to 7
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Supplements
      Remembrances
         Play
         Index
            Cléo From 5:00 to 6:30
            Antoine and Cléo Meet Again
            A Complex Character
            Assistant Directors
            Props and Models
            Trees and the Hospital
      Hans Baldung Grien
         About Baldung
         Selected Paintings
      Madonna and Agnès
         Play
      Cléo's Real Path Through Paris
         Play
      Les Fiancés du Pont MacDonald
         Play
         Agnès on les Fiancés
            Play
      L'Opéra Mouffe
         Play
      Trailer
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
Disc #3 -- Le Bonheur
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Supplements
      Agnès on le Boneheur
         Play
      The Two Women of "Le Bonheur"
         Play
      Thoughts on "Le Bonheur"
         Play
      What is Happiness?
         Happiness? the People of Fontenay Respond
         Bonheur: Proper Name or Concept
      Jean-Claude Drouot Returns
         Play
      Démons et Merveilles du Cinéma
         Play
      Du Côté de la Côte
         Play
         Index
            La Promenade des Anglais
            A Historical Destination
            Local Color and Vestiges
            Villas and Hotels
            Paradise
      Trailer
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
Disc #4 -- Vagabond
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Remembrances
      Play
      Index
         Inspiration and Research
         Dirt and Fungus
         Encounters and Vagrancy
         Real People and Violence
         Assoun/Setina
         Two Opposite Scenes
   The Story of an Old Lady
      Play
   Music and Dolly Shots
      Play
   To Nathalie Sarraute
      Play
   Trailer
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 14, 2012

    Criterion has released a box set of four very strong films by Ag

    Criterion has released a box set of four very strong films by Agnès Varda, one of cinema's most important female directors.

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    Posted November 12, 2009

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